We watched Emma Watson grow up before our eyes as Hermione in the Harry Potter series, and while she's kept to her characters frizzed mane most of the time, her most dramatic look came, of course, after this year's big chop. "Emma is one of the lucky ones," says New York City hair stylist Rodney Cutler, the man responsible for Emma's initial pixie cut and her red carpet premiere looks this week. "She has the perfect oval face shape which is a hairdressers dream. In terms of hair, everything works!"
For the London premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Emma wore a slightly longer and shaggier cut than we were used to seeing her in. "There are always stars sporting shorter hair—like Halle Berry—but over the past year a more gamine look has come center stage. Women prefer a more tapered look to the head. The classic Mia Farrow influence has returned en vogue," says Rodney.
There are pros and cons for those that can pull off this style. "The beauty of short hair is its simplicity," says Rodney. "If you've got the right cut, it always looks good. The downside of short hair is repetition—it can get boring, so it's all about creating variety by changing up the length, color and texture. That's what we try to do for Emma."
We noticed Emma's longer style at both the London and New York premieres of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, so we asked Rodney how Emma developed her cut. "As Emma's pixie grew out, we let it get shaggier and longer at the nape. There are a variety of ways to play with this look. It can go messy and sexy like at the London premiere, or slicked back and sleek like at the New York premiere last Monday."
For any red carpet premiere, Rodney always speaks with the makeup artist and stylist about the total look. "Being a hairdresser now involves full collaboration with the entire beauty team, it's never just about the hair." Emma and her stylist weigh in with the hair and makeup team and provide feedback to perfect the overall design. "Besides that, we have to consider environment—what kind of climate and conditions do we have to deal with?"
For London red carpet premiere (main), Rodney gave Emma a piecey, groomed style to complement her smoky pastel makeup and gorgeous tulle Oscar de la Renta gown. Rodney applied Redken Rootful 06 Root Lifting Spray and then blow-dried Emma's hair so that strands would appear naturally straight. He then gently flatironed pieces from the mid-shaft down and lightly flipped out the ends. To ensure the style would hold on the red carpet, he sprayed Redken Fashion Work 12 Versatile Working Spray. To balance the delicate volume in her stunning dress, Rodney backcombed Emma's hair at crown to give it a touch of height, finishing with a mist of Cutler Shine Tattoo.
Rodney took the look a step further in New York City, where he slicked and wetted down Emma's locks. He started with a slick low side part, which he then brushed straight across. He mixed together equal parts Redken Sheer Straight 06 Gel with Redken Glass 01 Smoothing Serum, and applied liberally to the hair. He then combed section by section and let the hair set. Rodney polished it off by spraying Cutler Shine Tattoo to deliver that high gloss finish. "There's no hair dryer required for this style, but be sure to comb the hair in the direction you ultimately want it to sit," finishes Rodney.
So how do you pull off Emma's gorgeous and trendy cut, which surprisingly works for most women? Oval-face shapes are the lucky ones and can most easily rock a shorter cut, but other face shapes can rework the style in the most flattering form. "If you're seriously considering a short cut, start compiling photos of styles you like—on people with similar face shapes to your own—to bring to your stylist. The biggest challenge with your hairdresser is usually communication. They may not have the same vision you do, so pictures will make sure you're both on the same page before they attack with the scissors," advises Rodney.